In Tune Conference

In Tune Conference: Creating the Great Canadian Musical


Join us for two fabulous nights of Panel Discussions followed by Showcases that let you glimpse some of the great local new musicals that have received workshops at the Conference (plus a few surprises!). All events below take place at the Revue Stage.


Panel Discussion

moderated by Rachel Ditor
Enter the Dramaturg
Given the substantially different creation processes of a book and score, what does dramaturgy look like for new musicals?


featuring excerpts from

Tornado Girl
by John Murphy, Music by John Murphy, Anthony Pavlic & Roland Zuk
An epic tale of vengeance, redemption and love, about a lonely super hero who is indestructible except for her heart.

Franklin Falls
by Courtenay Ennis and Roger Haskett
An awkward, selfish fifteen year old boy tries to stop a mall from being built to impress a girl he's obsessed with.


Panel Discussion

moderated by Katrina Dunn
Below the 49th Parallel
What do Canadians have to learn about developing and producing new musicals from our larger and more impactful American counterparts?


featuring excerpts from

The Cardboard House
by Tracey Power
Lucky’s been on the streets for three years and Jamie’s just arrived. Can they help each other survive, or is it only by getting out that they have a chance?

Smalltown: A Pickup Musical
by Lucas Myers and Amiel Gladstone
The last remaining citizens in a dying town face their future when a big company makes them an offer they can't refuse.

Entry to the Panel Discussions and Showcase events is on a first-come, first-served basis at the door. Admission is by donation, with a suggested amount of $10. Your support at the door helps us support the great work, new artists, and interesting ideas you'll be seeing on the stage!

Looking for the 2015 in Tune Conference? Go here.

Creating the Great Canadian Musical             


Co-Produced by the Arts Club Theatre and Touchstone Theatre, the intent of the In Tune Conference; Creating the Great Canadian Musical is to engage in a community wide consideration and celebration of how we currently develop new musicals in Canada, and what kind of scenarios might encourage more work and greater success and profile for work created.

We hope you will join us for this exciting week of Masterclasses, Panels and workshopping of local new musicals to be showcased on April 29th and 30th at the Revue Stage. We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this fascinating effort. See you there!

Rachel Ditor, Literary Manager, Arts Club Theatre Company
Katrina Dunn, Artistic Director, Touchstone Theatre

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Get inspired

In Tune’s One Day Masterclasses let you dive into the craft of musical theatre with engaging mentors. To register or ask questions contact Touchstone Theatre’s Operations Manager Caroline Sniatynski at or 604-709-9973.

With Director and Teacher Robert McQueen
Monday April 25th, 2011      10am to 5pm
$150 ($100 for CAEA Members)

A rare and exciting opportunity to work on duets chosen from the musical theatre repertoire. Mixing individual attention with enlightening group learning, this workshop lead by director and teacher Robert McQueen will treat each duet like a mini scene study class, focusing the inquiry on both the musical and acting challenges of singing with a partner. Come as a pair, or register alone and get matched up with a partner. Participants will be asked to prepare their song in advance.

Robert McQueen’s directing work includes the recent Toronto production of The Light in the Piazza, which was nominated in the Outstanding Production of a Musical category at the 2010 Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the Strauss opera Capriccio for Pacific Opera Victoria. Internationally, Robert’s latest work includes the direction and dramaturgy of the new music theatre piece Where Elephants Weep which had it’s world premiere in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 2009 Robert directed a Tokyo based creative team and acting company in a Japanese language production of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel at the Galaxy Theatre in Tokyo. Other recent opera productions have included Vancouver Opera’s The Magic Flute and the Canadian Opera Company’s La Boheme. In the commercial theatre Robert was the Associate Director for the Broadway, Toronto and national touring productions of Mamma Mia. For his alma mater, Studio 58, Robert has directed such productions as Pal Joey, The Cradle will Rock, and Hair. Upcoming directing engagements include Caroline, or Change, Legally Blonde and a new project in Phnom Penh with his colleagues at Cambodian Living Arts.

With Composer and Musical Director Paul Sportelli
Monday April 25th, 2011     10am to 5pm

Spend a day with one of Canada’s leading Musical Directors and the force behind several unique and acclaimed new musicals. Paul Sportelli will lead participants through a day designed to both challenge and inspire their composing process. Paul's presentation will focus on issues of musical dramaturgy and how to best set a lyric to music. The class will be interactive throughout. Paul would like to hear songs from writers taking the class-- from musicals they have written or are currently writing-- and offer creative suggestions.

Paul Sportelli has been the Music Director of the Shaw Festival since 1999, where he has musically directed musicals, including Sunday in the Park with George and Floyd Collins, and composed music for plays, including Saint Joan, The Crucible, Man and Superman, and Three Sisters. Paul and co-writer Jay Turvey have written six musicals to date: Little Mercy's First Murder (with book and lyrics by Morwyn Brebner) received its premiere at the Tarragon Theatre in 2003; it received seven Dora Awards. It was later produced in 2005 by Vancouver's Touchstone Theatre and in 2006 by Calgary's Vertigo Theatre. Tristan received its premiere at the Shaw Festival in 2007. Step Right Up! (written with Eric Woolfe) received its premiere at Theatre Orangeville in 2008. Nobody Told Me, a cycle of songs, received its first public performance in Toronto in 2009 at the Berkeley Upstairs Theatre. Maria Severa will premiere at the Shaw Festival in 2011. And Oracle, their most recent musical, is a work-in-progress. Recordings include Tristan and Maria Severa cast recordings and two CDs of original pop music as the jaypaul project (J-Paul, The Story of my Life). Paul's additional credits as musical director include Parade (Acting Up Stage/Studio 180), The Light in the Piazza (Arena Stage), The House of Martin Guerre (Canadian Stage), Beauty and the Beast and Miss Saigon (Princess of Wales Theatre), Les Miserables (Royal Alexandra Theatre, U.S./Canadian tour, and Broadway), and Aspects of Love (Elgin Theatre, Citadel Theatre, and Broadway). Paul received his Bachelor of Music degree and Performers' Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.

With Vocal Coach Kinza Tyrrell
Tuesday April 26th, 2011     10am to 5pm
$150 ($100 for CAEA Members)

In this Masterclass designed for experienced musical theatre performers who want to challenge themselves musically, Kinza Tyrrell will bring her expertise from the world of opera to musical theatre practitioners. The day will focus on how to use diction-driven text and musical elements (harmony, melody, rhythm, vocal range, lyricism, chromaticism, atonality, appoggiaturas, fermatas etc.) to heighten tension and highlight intent. Participants are asked to submit resumes when registering.

Victoria native Kinza Tyrrell made her orchestral debut at age twelve under the baton of Paul Freeman and the Victoria Symphony. The critics have called her a “sensation” with “award-winning talent”, pronouncing her playing as “brilliant” with “beautifully limpid tone colours and sparkling passagework” and “skilled artistry.” She began piano lessons at age four, acquired her AVCM at fifteen, and went on to study with Hans Graf at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and J.S. Benda at the Graz Musikhochschule at age eighteen, care of the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship. As well as being a solo performer, Kinza is in great demand as an adjudicator, clinician, and vocal/language coach. She won the 2003 Bösendorfer Prize from the Opera Coaching division of the International Belvedere Opera Competition in Vienna and holds a Doctorate of piano and vocal coaching from McGill University. Before accepting the positions of Principle Repetiteur and Music Director of VOIS at Vancouver Opera, she was on the esteemed music faculty at the Canadian Opera Company for three years. Dr. Tyrrell’s other positions include Senior Repetiteur and Assistant Conductor at Opera Nuova, Banff’s OAT Program and the COSI opera program in Sulmona, Italy, where she teaches and mentors young singers and pianists. Lastly, Kinza enjoys presenting recitals with Canada’s leading opera singers, such as Richard Margison with whom she will be touring throughout BC this March.

With writer, composer, lyricist and teacher Jim Betts
Tuesday April 26th, 2011    10am to 5pm

A rare opportunity for playwrights to explore and receive instruction in the craft of musical theatre writing, this one day Masterclass is a must for anyone working on, or wanting to someday work on, a musical. In the class, instructor Jim Betts will work with participants on how elements of traditional musical theatre craftsmanship - writing book, music and lyrics – still resonate in the current practices of the American, International and Canadian Musical Theatre.

Jim Betts is a long-time advocate of The Canadian Musical Theatre. He has taught a course in The History of The Canadian Musical Theatre at Sheridan College in Toronto, published two volumes of Field of Stars (Songs From The Canadian Musical Theatre) and led a variety of organizations dedicated to supporting creators of The Canadian Musical Theatre - including ScriptLab, The Group Of Several and The Guild Of Canadian Musical Theatre Writers. He teaches classes in The Craft Of Writing For The Musical Theatre, and leads ongoing workshops for Musical Theatre writers in Toronto. As Artistic Director of The Smile Theatre Company in Toronto, he commissions new musicals from Canadian Musical Theatre writers on an ongoing basis, and works to pair promising young writers with appropriate senior teachers and mentors. He was the Founding Artistic Director of Theatre Orangeville, where he produced the premiere productions Leslie Arden's The Greatest Gift, Stan Rogers • A Matter Of Heart, and Leslie Arden and Norm Foster's The Last Resort. He was a Plenary Speaker at the recent Lyric Canada Conference at Brock University, and he is active in the musical theatre community in Toronto and across the country. A writer, composer and lyricist himself, he is a Chalmers and Dora Mavor Moore Award winner. His musicals include Colours In The Storm, Little Women, Oberon and Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang.

Close out the Conference with two sessions designed to up your musical theatre IQ. Both sessions take place on Sunday May 1st at the PTC Studio and are BY DONATION.

12pm to 1:30pm
Led by local director and performer Peter Jorgensen, and featuring a stacked table of local musical theatre producers and directors, this informal panel analyses the key elements to a great musical theatre audition. Come and ask questions!

2pm to 4pm
Starting in 1606 with Theatre de Neptune, and going all the way to the opening of The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway in 2006, Jim Betts takes you through all the most (and some of the least) important stages of musical theatre in Canada. Touching on writers like Mavor Moore, John Gray and Leslie Arden, Jim gives you an anecdotal and sometimes irreverent history lesson.

Production Credits

Image by Splash Communications


Curated by Katrina Dunn and Rachel Ditor

Conference Advisory: Peter Jorgensen, Bill Millerd, Barbara Tomasic, Steven Greenfield

Associate Producers: Stacey Sherlock, Damon Jang



Paul Sportelli Masterclass - 10am to 5pm -  PTC Studio
Robert McQueen Masterclass - 10am to 5pm -  Carousel Studio

Kinza Tyrell Masterclass - 10am to 5pm -  Carousel Studio
Jim Betts Masterclass - 10am to 5pm -  PTC Studio

Workshopping New Musicals
10am to 6pm - Carousel & PTC Studios
Watch the action through Carousel’s glass front studio!

Workshopping New Musicals
10am to 6pm - Carousel & PTC Studios,  Revue Stage

Panel Discussion #1: Enter the Dramaturg
6:30pm -  Revue Stage

Showcase Night #1: excerpts from Tornado Girl & Franklin Falls
8:30pm -  Revue Stage

Workshopping New Musicals
10am to 6pm - Carousel & PTC Studios, Revue Stage

Panel Discussion #2: Below the 49th Parallel
6:30pm -  Revue Stage

Showcase Night #2: excerpts from The Cardboard House &
Smalltown: A Pickup Musical
8:30pm -  Revue Stage

The Great Audition
12pm to 1:30pm -  PTC Studio
A Short History of Canadian Musical Theatre
2pm to 4pm -  PTC Studio


Arts Club Revue Stage   1601 Johnston Street
Attached to the Public Market
Carousel Theatre 1411   Cartwright St
Across from the Waterfront Theatre
PTC Studio   1398 Cartwright St
In Festival House next to the Waterfront Theatre